Hawks go 2-1, despite being down two players and head coach
By Rhett Wilkinson
MT. PLEASANT—The North Sanpete High School boys varsity basketball team dealt with some setbacks this week but still came out on top.
Brady Jacobson, Dallon Steadman and head coach Cris Hoopes were all sick and/or in quarantine due to COVID-19 as North Sanpete played three games last week. Jacobson and Steadman are two of the Hawks’ best players. Hunter Price was also out for two of the contests.
“We’re a little thin,” said assistant coach Bill Pollock, filling in for Hoopes.
Still, North Sanpete went 2-1. The Hawks beat Union and American Leadership Academy 52-40 and 61-52, respectively, while losing to unbeaten Grand County 84-63.
Steadman was expected back Monday, while Jacobson was anticipated to return Thursday, Pollock told the Sanpete Messenger.
Against Union, Isaac Applegarth led North Sanpete with 13 points while Landon Milne and Trevin Morley added 10 apiece.
The first three-and-a-half quarters were close in a game Pollock called “slow.” He kept telling his players they needed to get inside the key and attack.
“We never made a big run, but we got inside on the zone and it really helped,” Pollock said. “In slow basketball games, it’s hard to find a rhythm, so I was proud of the kids for pushing through.”
Push through the Hawks did. At the end, they made free throws as part of an impressive 18-for-21 night from the charity stripe and got a key steal. (North Sanpete responded to a challenge from Hoopes on Wednesday, Jan. 6 to find gyms and work on their free throws.) It was part of a 15-8 fourth quarter where the majority of the point differential came in the final four minutes of the contest. They hadn’t had a lot of end-of-game practice. Yet, North Sanpete controlled turnovers – a response to another challenge from a coach (this time, Pollock) to do so after committing 10 in the first half – and successfully deployed a 1-3-1 zone despite not running it this season.
Pollock called for the zone because the Hawks had success the prior year with it against the Cougars. Also, the Hawks were “a step slow” in playing man-to-man defense, but the zone “woke” up North Sanpete, Pollock said.
Pollock noted the play of Zach Allred, a post player who was seldom-used before Steadman went out. Allred scored six points on 3-of-4 shooting.
Pollock called Allred into his office the day of the game.
“We just talked,” Pollock said.
Pollock also showed Allred game film.
“Zach … played with some assertiveness and got after it,” Pollock said. “That’s what we need him to be when Dallin’s not here.”
Against ALA, Cousins Trevin and Tyrel Morley combined for 41 points on 13-of-21 shooting.
“They can really shoot the ball and they’re not afraid. And they’ve done the work,” Pollock said. “Trevin has been a three-year starter for us, so we can expect him to give us some good minutes every single night. Tyrel has really worked hard this summer … it helped that he grew about six inches, too … kudos to him for the work that he put in and it’s paid off for us as a team.”
Against Grand County, North Sanpete was down 58-57 with six-and-a-half minutes to go before being outscored 26-6 down the stretch. Though the Hawks were playing their third game in the week and the Red Devils hadn’t played any, Pollock didn’t think that was a factor in North Sanpete’s collapse.
“They’re a good team,” Pollock said. “We didn’t do a good enough job stopping them at what they do.”
Pollock thought the contest was a result of the Hawks giving it up.
“I definitely think we lost the game,” Pollock said. “I thought we had them on their heels, especially in the second half. … I definitely thought we lost the game.”
Pollock thought North Sanpete struggled against a 2-2-1 full-court press. The Hawks had 16 turnovers in the first half.
However, Pollock thought the Hawks made adjustments after halftime. North Sanpete had just two turnovers in the second half. But it wasn’t enough.
“We ran out of gas,” Pollock said. “It’s hard to claw back against a good team … you can see how fast it changes if you don’t do the things to close a game.”